FIFA Women's World Rankings

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Top 20 Rankings as of 25 September 2015[1]
Rank Change Team Points
1 Steady  United States 2189
2 Steady  Germany 2115
3 Steady  France 2083
4 Steady  Japan 2052
5 Steady  England 2038
6 Increase 2  North Korea 1993
7 Decrease 1  Brazil 1973
8 Decrease 1  Sweden 1970
9 Steady  Australia 1968
10 Steady  Norway 1933
11 Steady  Canada 1924
12 Steady  Netherlands 1908
13 Steady  Italy 1874
14 Increase 1  Denmark 1856
15 Decrease 1  China PR 1840
16 Steady  New Zealand 1839
17 Steady  South Korea 1838
18 Increase 1  Spain 1824
19 Decrease 1  Iceland 1818
20 Steady  Scotland 1791
Complete rankings at

The FIFA Women's World Rankings for football were introduced in 2003,[2] with the first rankings published in March of that year, as a follow-on to the existing FIFA World Rankings for men. They attempt to compare the strength of internationally active women's national teams at any given time.

Specifics of the ranking system[edit]

  • FIFA Women's World Rankings are based on every international match a team ever played, dating back to 1971, the first FIFA-recognized women's international between France and the Netherlands. (The men's ranking system considers only matches in the last four years.)
  • FIFA Women's World Rankings are implicitly weighted to emphasize recent results. (The men's results are explicitly weighted on a sliding scale.)
  • FIFA Women's World Rankings are only published four times a year. Normally, rankings are released in March, June, September and December. (In World Cup years, dates may be adjusted to reflect the World Cup results.)

The first two points result in a FIFA Women's World Rankings system which is far more similar to the Elo football rating system. FIFA considers the ratings for teams with fewer than 5 matches provisional and at the end of the list. Also any team that plays no matches for 18 months becomes unranked.


FIFA Women's
World Ranking leaders

United States women's national soccer team Germany women's national football team United States women's national soccer team Germany women's national football team United States women's national soccer team Germany women's national football team Germany women's national football team United States women's national soccer team

To date Germany and the USA have been the only two teams to have led the rankings. Between them, they held the top two spots from the third set of rankings in October 2003, immediately after the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, through the December 2008 rankings. Germany was third behind Norway in the first two rankings, and dropped out of the top two in March 2009, replaced by Brazil, though their successful 2009 Euro title defense pushed them back into the top two for the September 2009 ranking, where they have remained.

The latest version of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, released in September 2015, had no changes in ranking amongst the top five since the publication of the last version, however North Korea rose two places to sixth after winning the 2015 EAFF Women's East Asian Cup.[3] In the previous rankings, released July 2015 in the wake of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, USA regained the top spot from Germany following their Women's World Cup victory. England rose to fifth, their highest-ever position, after defeating Germany in the Women's World Cup third-place match. Canada fell to eleventh, dropping out of the top ten altogether, while Norway rose into the top ten.[4]

Ranking procedure[edit]

The rankings are based on the following formulae:[2]

R_{aft} = R_{bef} + K (S_{act} - S_{exp})
S_{exp} =  \frac{1}{1 + 10^{-x/2}}
x = \frac{R_{bef} - O_{bef} \pm H}{c}


R_{aft} = The team rating after the match
R_{bef} = The team rating before the match
K = 15 M, the weighted importance of the match
S_{act} = The actual result of the match, see below
S_{exp} = The expected result of the match
x = The scaled difference in rating points between the teams
O_{bef} = The opposing team's rating before the match
H = The "home advantage" correction, see below
c = A scaling factor, see below
M = The "Match Importance Factor", see below

These formulae are designed such that beginning teams can expect a ranking of roughly 1000 points, while top-level teams can exceed 2000 points. In order to be ranked, a team must have played at least 5 matches against officially ranked teams, and have not been inactive for more than 18 months. Even if teams are not officially ranked, their points rating is kept constant.

Actual result of the match[edit]

The main component of the actual result is whether the team wins, loses, or draws, but goal difference is also taken into account.

If the match results in a winner and loser, the loser is awarded a percentage given by the accompanying table, with the result always less than or equal to 20% (for goal differences greater than zero). The result is based on the goal difference and the number of goals they scored. The remaining percentage points are awarded to the winner. For example, a 2–1 match has the result awarded 84%–16% respectively, a 4–3 match has the result awarded 82%–18%, and an 8–3 match has the result awarded 96.2%–3.8%. As such, it is possible for a team to lose points even if they win a match, assuming they did not "win by enough".

If the match ends in a draw the teams are awarded the same result, but the number depends on the goals scored so the results will not necessarily add up to 100%. For example, a 0–0 draws earns both teams 47% each, a 1–1 draw earns 50% each, and a 4–4 draw earns 52.5% each.[2]

Actual result table (from a non-winning perspective)[edit]

Goal Difference
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 /+
Goals scored Actual result (percentage)
0 47 15 8 4 3 2 1
1 50 16 8.9 4.8 3.7 2.6 1.5
2 51 17 9.8 5.6 4.4 3.2 2
3 52 18 10.7 6.4 5.1 3.8 2.5
4 52.5 19 11.6 7.2 5.8 4.4 3
5 53 20 12.5 8 6.5 5 3.5


Neutral ground or Home vs. Away[edit]

Historically, home teams earn 66% of the points available to them, with away teams earning the other 34%. To account for this, when two teams are not playing on neutral ground, the home team has its R_{bef} inflated by 100 points for the purposes of calculation. That is, if two equally ranked teams playing at one team's home ground, the home team would be expected to win at the same rate a team playing on neutral ground with a 100-point advantage. This 100 point difference corresponds to a 64%–36% advantage in terms of expected result.

This also helps define the scaling constant c, which has a value of 200. In addition to a 100-point difference causing an expected result difference of 64%–36%, it also results in a 300-point difference causing expected results of 85%–15%.[2]

Importance of the match[edit]

Match importance Match importance
factor (M)
FIFA Women's World Cup match 4 60
Women's Olympic football tournament 4 60
FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier 3 45
Women's Olympic football qualifier 3 45
Women's Continental finals match 3 45
Women's Continental qualifier 2 30
Women's friendly match between two Top 10 teams 2 30
Women's friendly match 1 15

Ranking schedule[edit]

Rankings are published four times a year, usually on a Friday.[5]

2015 Rankings schedule
Release date
27 March
10 July
25 September
18 December

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "FIFA Women's World Ranking". FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). 25 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Fact Sheet, FIFA Women's World Ranking" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-06-08. 
  3. ^ "Korea DPR climb as USA stay top" (Press release). FIFA. 25 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  4. ^ "World champions USA back on top" (Press release). FIFA. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  5. ^ "2015 - Women's World Ranking Schedule". FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). Retrieved 10 July 2015. 

External links[edit]